Even in countries that have decriminalised the possession and use of drugs, it's not as though you can simply walk into a shop and buy methamphetamines. These substances are made in home-based laboratories, and it's not as though there is much in the way of quality control. It poses the question, how would you know if a potential new home has ever been used to produced illicit drugs? The figures are broad, and it's suspected that hundreds, even perhaps thousands of Australian homes have been used for this purpose. What should you do if you suspect that this is the case with a home you're considering renting or buying?
You would hope that the real estate agent or landlord would simply disclose the home's past when showing you the property, allowing you to weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision. Ideally they would not withhold such important information, but it should also be considered that they don't know. If they do present you with this information, ensure that the property has undergone a thorough, professional cleaning to remove all trace elements of the methamphetamines that were produced there.
Methamphetamine byproducts can remain in the property even after the production facilities have been removed. This can make the property dangerous to live in, even uninhabitable. Across the Tasman, New Zealand landlords have been given an official guide on how to properly test and clean a property that has been suspected of being a drug lab. In Australia, you might need to take matters into your own hands. How can you do this?
Getting a Definitive Answer
Odd smells might be noticed if the drug activity was recent. These scents can include lighter fluid, ammonia, rotten eggs and more. The absence of these scents is not conclusive, however. You could ask at the local police station if you have suspicions, as they would know of any drug enforcement operations that have targeted the property. There is no way to be entirely sure without professional drug lab testing, which is an exhaustive test of the home to identify if any residual amounts of methamphetamines and their byproducts are in existence. Companies which test homes for methamphetamines often offer a comprehensive decontamination service as well.
For some people, knowing that a property was once used for drug production is an undeniable dealbreaker. While it's a highly personal decision, it's one that can only be made when you're armed with all the necessary information.